Community perks

At the University there are numerous places for students to live, from apartments to houses to dorms. But another residence option is the learning communities.

An on-campus learning community is a place for students who share a similar interest to live. Interests such as foreign cultures, art or even academics are associated with the University’s 13 learning communities.

For an additional fee per semester the student may live in these specified communities and take classes with professors whose offices and classrooms are often within the building.

For those who are ambitious learners and seek an academic challenge, there is the Chapman Community, located in Kohl Hall. This community consists of about 200 first-year students and a leadership team of upper classmen. The Chapman Community has four classrooms, 18 faculty offices and even a music practice room.

In addition to an academic passion, the community offers several co-curricular activities, ranging from guest speakers to out-of-state trips. Canoeing and wall climbing, as well as trips to Cincinnati, New York and Chicago, have been a few of the benefits of living in this community.

Not to mention, the students get to choose from a range of 10 service projects, including art at the local homeless shelter, where not only do the students reach out to those in need, but “they also learn the nature of art,” said W. Robert Midden, associate professor of the Chapman Learning Community.

For those who like to step outside of the academic box, this particular learning community is focusing on investigating factory farms.

“This is currently one of the most controversial issues in the community,” Midden said. “In particular, the water quality in the area.”

However, the Chapman Community is one of the most expensive, costing an additional $275 per semester. But due to low enrollment, the extra costs cover the wide ranges of transportation, food, guest speakers and community trips out of town – all of this being provided at a discount through the community fees.

But for those students who want to live abroad in Spain without leaving the University, they can now experience the Spanish culture right here on campus in the La Comunidad Community, located in the J unit of Conklin. In this community, students are encouraged to study the Spanish language and Spanish-speaking cultures 24 hours a day.

“As the number of Latino students on campus increases, La Comunidad offers an area where they can meet, practice their Spanish and celebrate their cultural heritage,” said Joshua Evans, faculty adviser.

A perk to the La Comunidad Community is the extra living fee is only $50 and all activities are free and open to the entire student body. La Comunidad plans to have movie nights, game nights and cooking nights throughout the semester – all in Spanish, of course.

To join the community, residents do not have to live in the dorm, but are required to have taken Spanish 102 or an academic equivalent. Another requirement for La Comunidad is that residents are expected to maintain a 3.0 GPA and participate in all cultural and social activities.

For more information, look for La Comunidad at the upcoming Campusfest.

For students who love the essence of creativity there is the Arts village, located in Compton in the Kreischer Quads. This community focuses on all aspects of art, including dance, theater, music and creative writing, said Gordon Ricketts, Arts Village director.

“Here in the Arts Village we are an organic community in the sense that we empower students to come up with their own ideas,” Ricketts said. “We support academics, but we also provide a good environment.”

Predominantly freshmen and sophomores reside in the community, but students of any year are welcome to participate.

Art Community resident, Katie Wolfe, freshman, said she loves being surrounded by similar interests and finding her own unique niche.

Students of all majors can join and become involved in the community as long as a few requirements are fulfilled. While no set GPA is required, the community does follow basic University acceptance standards. In addition, each semester, students are required to take an Arts Village Core general course and an In-Action course. An additional fee of $150 dollars is also required to cover the costs of the living space and much-enjoyed common area, open 24 hours. Visiting artists, concerts and workshops are also covered under these costs.

Events planned for the Arts Community this semester include a fall break trip to New York City, a performance with a music ensemble and a performance bake-off. The bake-off is an event where participants get 72 hours to come up with a creative performance piece that follows a set theme.

“Basically, this community just requires students to have a desire for art. We’re not a ‘Finding Nemo,’ we’re just a community with something for everyone,” Ricketts said.